Date of Publication



Background: Palliative care services remain under-utilized, even as evidence suggests that early palliative care leads to positive health outcomes, reduced ED visits, and substantial cost savings. Barriers include a lack of knowledge of palliative care services in the community, and under-utilization of validated assessment tools, including a symptom checklist. Aims of this project: 1. To determine whether the integration of validated community-based palliative care screening tool in an assisted living setting will identify older adults with unmet palliative care needs. 2. To determine if tool implementation could lead to a referral for palliative care consultation.

Methods: A screening tool developed by Brookdale-Weill Cornell Palliative Care Consortium was used to identify candidates for a consult. Using ACEP Palliative Care criteria, health records of 63 residents in an assisted living facility were screened. Nurses received palliative care education including use of the 22-item screening tool. Positive results were shared with primary care providers.

Results: Of the 31 residents screened, 45% screened positive, and 100% consented to referral to primary care providers for a palliative care consult. Inclusion of the screening tool in the new resident admission packet was a resulting practice change adopted by the facility.

Conclusions: Palliative care screening in assisted living facilities can increase palliative care consultation and utilization among older adults with chronic illnesses. Implications of utilizing this screening tool are: enhance quality of life for older adults living in assisted living facilities, empower older adult-community clinicians, and improve the coordination of care with primary care.

Document Type